PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — President Jovenel Moise said Friday that he is optimistic that negotiations with a coalition of his political opponents will succeed in forging a power-sharing deal to end months of deadlock that have left Haiti without a functioning government.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Moise laid out his bargaining position in the talks that began last week in the mission of the papal envoy to Haiti with political opponents and some civil society groups. He said he would accept an opposition prime minister and a shortened term in office, but only after adoption of a constitutional reform strengthening the presidency.
Moise said his efforts to improve living conditions for Haiti’s 11 million people had been thwarted during his first three years in office by the constitutional requirement that the National Assembly must approve virtually all significant presidential actions.
He said he would serve only a single term in office so he would not personally benefit from the powers of a stronger presidency.
“It makes me optimistic to see my brothers and sisters from the political opposition, civil society and religious groups,” he said. “I think we’re at a crossroads.”
Moise is a former banana farmer who won 56% of the vote against three opponents in the 2016 election. He made some progress on rural infrastructure projects during his first two years in office. Then the end of subsidized Venezuelan oil aid to Haiti fueled chaos in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.
Without the help, the economy shrank, and investigations found questionable spending of hundreds of millions of dollars over the years in aid from the Petrocaribe program run by Venezuela. Protests began over the Petrocaribe misspending and protests snowballed until Moise’s opponents waged a near-total lockdown of Haiti’s capital for three months last fall.
Protests were accompanied by a constant blocking of Moise’s agenda in the National Assembly. A small group of opposition legislators blocked Moise proposals with tactics ranging from filibusters to throwing furniture inside the Senate chamber or calling supporters to block governing party senators access to the building.
The country was unable to organize legislative elections and the National Assembly shut down last month, leaving Moise without a constitutionally recognized government. He says the constitution allows him to rule by decree with legislative approval but he is choosing not to in order to forge national unity.
Observers say developed nations that provide Haiti with most of its state budget are highly reluctant to keep funding a government that could be accused of moving toward dictatorship.
Haiti’s 1987 constitution was drafted after the end of three decades of dictatorship and aims in part to prevent the emergence of another strongman by sharply limiting presidential powers.
“The 1987 constitution took all the power out of the president’s hands. The president has zero power and the people demand everything from the president of the republic,” Moise told AP in the foyer of his home in the hills above Port-au-Prince.
Moise said he wants a new constitution to stipulate that presidential proposals automatically pass if the National Assembly does not vote them up or down within 60 days.
He also wants all political terms to last five years. Senate terms currently range from two to six years, depending on a variety of factors, leading to constant churn and campaigning in a country where widespread insecurity and corruption make elections difficult to organize.
Convening a constitutional assembly to rewrite the charter would almost certainly take most of Moise’s remaining two years in office.
Most of the political opposition has demanded that Moise significantly cut his time in office, with some demanding his immediate resignation and others asking for him to hand over power early next year.
He said negotiations would succeed “if there’s good will on the part of the people involved to find a way forward with a realistic calendar.”
“You can’t say you’re going to carry out these reforms in two months,” he said.
A coalition of relatively moderate opponents and civil society groups were unable to reach a deal with Moise’s representatives last week at the papal nunciature. Another group of hard-line opponents did not participate.
Moise said he thinks he can reach a deal with enough opponents to move the country forward.
″’We need to all get together and forge a deal, even if that deal isn’t accepted by everyone,” he said. “You’ll have radicals, extremists who won’t sign, who won’t accept it, but that won’t kill the republic.
“I’m not hung up on finishing my term. I’m hung up on making reforms,” he said.
Former Louisville Cop Pleads Guilty in Breonna Taylor Case
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Louisville police detective who helped falsify the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Breonna Taylor’s apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
Federal investigators said Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later conspired with another detective to create a cover story when Taylor’s March 13, 2020, shooting death by police began gaining national attention.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot to death by officers who knocked down her door while executing a drug search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.
Goodlett, 35, appeared in a federal courtroom in Louisville on Tuesday afternoon and admitted to conspiring with another Louisville police officer to falsify the warrant. Goodlett briefly answered several questions from federal judge Rebecca Jennings Grady.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was in the courtroom Tuesday but did not speak after the proceedings.
Three former Louisville officers were indicted on criminal civil rights charges earlier this month by a federal grand jury. Goodlett was not indicted, but charged in a federal information filing, which likely means the former detective is cooperating with investigators.
Goodlett will be sentenced Nov. 22. Grady said there may be “extenuating circumstances” that may move the court to push back the sentencing date. Part of the plea hearing was also kept under seal and was not discussed in open court Tuesday. She faces up to five years in prison for the conviction.
She resigned from the department Aug. 5, a day after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new federal charges in the Taylor case.
Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany were indicted on charges related to the warrant used to search Taylor’s home. A third former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with using excessive force when he retreated from Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. He was acquitted by a jury on similar state charges earlier this year. Jaynes, Meany and Hankison have all been fired.
The three former officers face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the civil rights charges.
Federal prosecutors said in court records that Jaynes, who drew up the Taylor warrant, had claimed to Goodlett days before the warrant was served that he had “verified” from a postal inspector that a suspected drug dealer was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. But Goodlett knew this was false and told Jaynes the warrant did not yet have enough information connecting Taylor to criminal activity, prosecutors said. She added a paragraph saying the suspected drug dealer, Jamarcus Glover, was using Taylor’s apartment as his current address, according to the court records.
Two months later, when the Taylor shooting was attracting national headlines, the postal inspector told a media outlet he had not verified packages for Glover were going to Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes and Goodlett then met in Jaynes’ garage to “get on the same page” before Jaynes talked to investigators about the Taylor warrant, court records said.
They decided to say Sgt. John Mattingly, who is identified in the court records as J.M., told them Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s home, according to prosecutors. Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid at Taylor’s apartment.
Meany, who signed off on the Taylor warrant and was still a Louisville police sergeant when he was indicted on Aug. 4, was fired by Louisville Police Chief Erika Shields on Friday.
Shields said in a statement that Meany has not yet had his case heard by a jury, but “he is facing multiple federal charges after a lengthy investigation by the DOJ” and should not “expect continued employment under such conditions.”
Hankison was the only officer charged who was on the scene the night of the killing.
A Black State Rep. Wants ‘Swift Action’ Against a White State Senator for Calling Him the Governor’s ‘Little B***h’
MIAMI, Fla. (FNN) – Who’s responsible when a lawmaker insults another lawmaker in public?
On August 5, 2022 an article published by POLITICO, written by Matt Dixon, quoted Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) referring to Representative Dr. James Bush III (D-Miami) as the Governor’s “little b***h.”
Where is the outrage from the Florida Democratic Party, or the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida? Are their heads in the sand or will they call on the senator make a public apology?
Who decides to police the behavior of what lawmakers can’t say? Who’s next on the Senator’s little b***h list?
Was it okay for Republican Congressman Ted Yoho to call Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “f*****g b***h” a reporter reported in 2020?
State Representative Dr. James Bush III is the longest serving black state lawmaker (since 1992) in Florida and is calling for action against State Senator Jason Pizzo.
Representative Bush, along with pastors, community leaders, and organizations will be condemning the derogatory statement made by Senator Jason Pizzo in a press conference Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at 10am at the Historic Hampton House 4240 NW 27th Ave Miami, FL 33142.
Rep. Bush’s press release Monday stated that “the community, along with Representative Bush, are demanding swift action be taken against this blatantly disrespectful statement not only toward Representative Bush but the wom[en], families, children, and constituents in District 109 and the entire State of Florida.”
Bush, whose service in state government dates back three decades, has drawn anger in recent years over his increased support of GOP-backed legislation endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that critics decry as bigoted and harmful.
Bush was the sole Democrat who voted yes for the controversial law restricting classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual preference (popularly dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law). He was also the only Democrat to vote with Republicans on Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking victims.
Those two major votes put Bush at odds with his fellow Democrats, turning some to support his Primary opponent this year, lawyer Ashley Gantt, including Sen. Pizzo. Gantt is holding her own press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Joseph Caleb Center in Miami to highlight how her progressive credentials contrast with Rep Bush’s.
Here’s Pizzo’s whole commentary to POLITICO:
“The Governor seems to have issues with Black folks,” he said, referring to DeSantis’ new congressional map critics say reduced the number of Black-performing districts in the state and legislation he called for targeting “woke” indoctrination in public schools and private workplaces.
“But instead of (Bush) leveraging his relationship with the Governor to help, he is the Governor’s little b**ch.”
COMMENTARY: IS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AN APPROVED STANDARD FOR DEMOCRATIC LEADERS?
Political disagreements are inevitable. Lawmakers are human beings–individuals–who will support or oppose measures based on the combination of their own experiences and intelligence, plus the needs of the people they’ve been elected to serve. At a tertiary level, they’ll also factor in the objectives of any special interest groups who’ve chosen to back them. That said, not every lawmaker will vote along party lines 100 percent of the time–not if they have a mind of their own and are not a political plant.
It’s one thing to disagree with and then attack a person’s voting record. The Democrats and Sen. Pizzo are displeased with the way Rep. Bush chose to vote. That’s fine. That’s political discourse. That’s how the legislature works.
It’s another–and unacceptable–thing to attack a person’s character simply because you don’t like their voting record…or simply because you don’t like them.
That’s immature. That’s what we saw in 2020 with US Rep. Yoho attacking AOC.
And here’s the dangerous part: If Democratic Party leaders or the Democratic Black Caucus don’t speak out on this, white elected officials, regardless of age or level of experience, attacking elected officials of color will become a norm (perhaps again). And this will mean that this deplorable behavior has become the new norm for the Democratic Party as a whole, proving that they no longer care about the people they represent, but their own agenda.
This isn’t Sen. Pizzo’s first attack against Rep. Bush. In tweet supporting Bush’s Primary opponent Gantt back in July, Sen. Pizzo stated, “Florida ‘Democrat’ James Bush is a shill for the Florida Republicans. Voting against Democratic values and kissing the Governor’s ass — all day, everyday. Join me in letting politicians know that their actions have real consequences.”
The Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate are not high school. Such antics as what we’re seeing from Sen. Pizzo need to be called out and held accountable–not just for elected Democrats, but for the candidates, too.
If a candidate like this goes to Tallahassee, as former State Rep. Bruce Antone, who’s running for Florida House District 41, stated on Facebook Monday: “These type[s] [of] legislators operate in a perpetual state of protest and they are ignored the moment they begin speaking.”
Is this the direction the Democratic Party wants to go in? Prioritizing “dissenting voices”–as Antone put it–over effective lawmaking?
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
Orlando Sentinel Endorses Angel Perry for Florida House District 36
SANFORD, Fla. – The Angel Perry campaign announced today that the Orlando Sentinel has endorsed the Republican candidate in her bid for Florida House District 36.
Perry’s campaign priorities include following and protecting the Constitution, including keeping the Second Amendment intact; protecting and paying our first responders well, creating more programs for our veterans so that they can live out their days in success and prosperity, creating more opportunities for small businesses to thrive, and transparency and accountability for all elected officials.
Perry has a chance to make history with a November win–it would make her the first African American Republican woman from Central Florida to be elected to the Florida House. She has two Republican opponents in the August 23rd Republican primary for House District 36: Richard Santos and Rachel Plakon.
The Orlando Sentinel lavished cautious praise in their endorsement of Perry.
“Angelique “Angel” Perry has her eyes on the prize. Her positions are every bit as conservatively dogmatic as Plakon and Santos. And her calm demeanor and focus could make her a formidable presence in Tallahassee, where she’d bring a welcome fresh perspective on the challenges facing Florida in the coming two years. That’s not to say we agree with her, because there are few areas where we do… If voters want solid Republican ideology, free of baggage and uncertainty, she’s the best choice.”
“For too long the government has done nothing but in-fighting while the work of the people is not getting done,” Angel Perry said in her press statement. “I don’t have to reach across the aisle–my record shows I can work with all viewpoints without compromising my beliefs.
“We the people mean everyone together. There is no way forward without that. A left-leaning newspaper’s endorsement of a right wing conservative is proof in the pudding and I am very grateful for the Orlando Sentinel’s endorsement.”
For more information, visit angel4florida.com.